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Authors: Jayton Young

No More Running (9 page)

BOOK: No More Running
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We had reached Stefan’s place, and I couldn’t believe how massive it was.  The house; or I guess you’d call it a mansion, was bigger than anyplace I had seen.  He told us that it had ten bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, one in each bedroom and two guests bathrooms one on the first floor, and one on the second, a living room, an office, a library, a meeting room, a game room, a media room like Garret’s, a dining room, and of course the kitchen.

After the tour he gave Doc and I a tour of the house, we all talked about it and decided to all take up rooms in the same wing each being next to another.  It would be easier to keep track of everyone and be there if something happened to one of us or someone needed help.

We all chose our rooms.  Stefan’s room was the master suite that was the size of two of any other bedroom and it was directly at the end of the hallway.  Claire took the door to the right and Garret to the left.  Facing Garret’s door I took the next one on the left (the end of the hallway/Stefan’s room was on the right of Garret’s), and Doc took the one to the left of me.  That surprised me.  I figured he would naturally take the one beside Claire, but he didn’t, and I didn’t question him over it.

We took the time to unpack the bags we each gone home, or in my case at Clair’s house, to pack and met downstairs in the dining room.

“I’m not even going to risk anything.  I’m throwing everything out and we’ll stock up on all new groceries, just to be safe.” Stefan said as he proceeded, with Clair, to the kitchen to do it.

“I’ll go to the grocery store with you two, if it’s okay, and we’ll do the restocking.” I suggested.

They both agreed, and Garret went to tell the other’s we were going.

“I get the impression that none of your friends trust or like me very much.”  Doc said with a slight smirk.

“They just don’t know you yet.”  I tried to reassure him putting my hand on his.  “Hopefully with you staying here with us, they’ll be able to see the type of person you are.”

He looked so solemn.  “Diana, as much as we’ve talked over the years, you don’t really know me.  I’m kind of wondering if you’ll like me when you have to see me 24/7.”

I laughed at him, but he just frowned back wondering why I would laugh when he was being serious.

“I might not have lived with you, Doc, but I think I know you pretty well.”  I told him quietly.  “I learned a while back with Chuck to observe my surroundings, and always pay attention.  I learned to remember everything that is said to me, because if I faltered one little bit, and it turned out to be something important, I wouldn’t be able to stand up the next day.  I have always listened to you, and in Chicago I watched you.  More than you’ll ever know.  You haven’t hidden anything from me.  Whether you tried to or not.  That’s why I have always, and will always trust you with my life.”

He looked down, but I saw his eyes glisten before he did.  I hugged him, which with our weird, limiting history, I’d never done before.

“You are my best friend, Doc.  You are my rock to lean on, and my anchor that keeps me sane.”  I whispered.  “I’ll never leave you.”

Garret walked back in at that moment and I saw a hint of pain cross his face.  I knew I’d have to explain later.  I loved Doc, but it was just a friendly love.  I knew for sure, looking at him now, that I was falling in love with Garret Starr.

 

 

Chapter 10

 

 

When we got into Garret’s SUV, I sat up front with him and Doc sat behind him in the back seat.  I looked over at Garret, and he was watching the road very intently.  I knew the hug I gave Doc bothered him, and I also knew he took it the wrong way.  He must not have heard the things being said, so I would go and talk to him about it tonight when I could get him by himself.  I didn’t think it would be appropriate to discuss our relationship in front of anyone else.  At least until I figured out for sure what exactly out relationship was going to be.

I knew Garret liked me and wanted to go out with me, but I didn’t know if he wanted to keep it casual or if he was serious about it.  I wasn’t good at this type of thing.  I had only been out with two men, and both had ended badly, one even before it had the chance to get serious.

I reached over the middle console and grabbed the hand Garret had resting on his leg.  When I grabbed it and squeezed, he looked over at me with confusion on his face.  I just smiled and mouthed
‘we’ll talk later’
as I glanced in the back seat where Doc was staring out of the back window.  Garret nodded and looked back to the front to watch where he was going.

We passed a farmer’s market and I told him I wanted to stop on the way back.

“If you don’t mind, Garret,” Doc piped in.  “I’ll need to stop by a pharmacy at some point.  I’m a stickler for having all of my basic first aid supplies, and I have prescriptions for both Diana and myself I have to have filled.”

“That’ll be no problem.  There is a pharmacy attached to the grocery store where we are going.  They are all locally owned and operated. We natives like to spend our money with the small businesses to keep the money in our local economy.”

“Why didn’t any of you ever tell me?  I would have done all of the shopping I did for Mrs. Chambers there.”  I asked.

“I personally never really thought about it.  I don’t guess she did either since she didn’t say anything about it.  It’s just second nature to most of us.”

We all got out once we reached the store, Doc going his way and Garret and I went into the grocery section.

“Oh Diana!”  Doc called before he went through the pharmacy door.  “Will you get the stuff to make me some of your famous homemade cherry cobbler?”

“Yeah, no problem, Doc.”  I called back.

We grabbed a cart and started down the aisles.

“So, what makes your cherry cobbler so famous?”  Garret asked as he pulled stuff off the shelves and put it in the cart.

“Do you even know what you are getting?”  I asked as he dropped in a couple of cans of baby corn.  “What would you ever need those for?”

“I don’t know. I never really cook.  I can if I need to, but I don’t know recipes and stuff, so when I come to the store, I pretty much grab some of everything.”

“Okay, well let’s just put these back, you push the cart, and I’ll take care of the shopping.  I love to cook, so I’ll take care of everything while we’re at Stefan’s house.”  I said, shaking my head at the thought of a man’s shopping habits.  Men never thought about things before they just did or bought something.  Well about the small stuff anyway.  I had to give them credit, both Garret and Stefan were thinking about this security issue very hard before making too many more moves. 

“And to answer your question,” I said, trying to get back to the conversation. “I think the cobbler is only famous to Doc.  He’s not used to home cooked meals and baking, so he said that about everything I made him back then.  I would have to do it while Chuck was at work.  He never knew about my friendship with Doc, and I certainly didn’t want to give Chuck any reason to go after him.”  I turned to watch Garret putting the cans back on the shelf, while I told him what we needed to keep.  I figured I could go ahead and talk to him about what he had walked in on that morning.  “You know that I don’t love…”

“Dianne?”  I was cut off by a light masculine voice from behind.

I turned around and saw Jamie walking up.  “Jamie!  Hey!  What are you doing here?”

He held up the basket to show the few items in there.  “My auntie needed some stuff for a get together she’s having.  What are you doing?”

“We just needed to restock the pantry.”  I gestured back to Garret, who was just standing there watching the exchange.

When Jamie noticed Garret, his gaze hardened for a minute before he schooled his features again.  “Sorry man,” He said holding his free hand out to Garret.  “I didn’t really notice you there.  I was just thinking how cool it was that I keep running into Dianne here.”  He shook Garret’s hand and looked back at me.  “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.  Hell, I’ve been thinking about you since you disappeared from Tacoma.  I’m so sorry for blaming you for what happened.  I wasn’t thinking of what you must have been going through.”

“It’s alright, Jamie.  I totally understood, and it was my fault.  If you had never met me, then nothing would have happened to you.”

“No it’s not your fault.  I got into some therapy and I realized that you were just as much a victim as I had been; more so actually.”  He set his basket down and grabbed my hand.  “I really hope we can still be friends.  I looked for you for a while, but you disappeared without a trace.  I had hoped you would forgive me and take me back.”

“I changed my name and tried to move on, Jamie.  There was never anything to forgive you for, but if you need to hear it, then I do forgive you.”  I looked into his eyes, which held a hopeful expression.  “But I have moved on.  I’m so sorry, but I would love to still be your friend.”

Jamie nodded with a look of disappointment mixed with frustration.  I felt really bad for him.  He again held his hand out for Garret and shook his hand.

“Congratulations, man. You need to take care of her, you’re a lucky man.”

I was about to correct him because Garret and I weren’t officially dating, but Garret’s voice cut me off.

“I know, I am lucky,” He slipped his arm around my waist.  “And don’t worry; I don’t plan on hurting her.”

Jamie stared at him for a minute before nodding and looking back at me.  He pulled a card from his pocket and handed it to me.  “Call me sometime and we’ll catch up.  Maybe go on a double date or something.”  He said and turned and walked off.

Garret turned me toward him.  “I hope you don’t mind that I did that.”

“No, that’s okay.  I was going to talk to you about…”

“All finished.  How much more shopping do we have?”  Doc said from behind Garret.

Damn it!!  It was like it wasn’t meant for me to speak with Garret.  I would have to wait for that night when everyone went to their rooms.

“We’re just getting started.”  I told him as we started pushing the cart down the aisle again, me looking for stuff we need.  It looked like the talk with Garret was going to have to wait. 

“I can’t remember if I told you are not,” I said to Doc.  “But the night Garret and I went out, I ran into Jamie Lane; he moved here after the fire to be with his family, anyway he was just here and we talked for a few.”

“Jamie?  As in your ex-boyfriend that went off on you in the hospital?  That Jamie?”  Doc asked incredulously.  “Diana, I did a check on him back then, and there was no record of him having family at all, much less here in Georgia.”

“That’s not possible.  He even told me back then that he had family here, I had just forgotten.”

“I’m sure it.  I remember when I had someone run the check.  He was an orphan that spent his adolescent and teenage years in foster care until he came of age.”

I looked over to Garret.

“I’ll check into it.”  He said.  “Give me the card he gave you, and I’ll get a thorough check done.”

Doc seemed to get offended.  “So you don’t believe me?”

“It’s not that, Doc.  It’s just…how would he have known to lie to me back then?  I didn’t even know I’d end up here.  Maybe it’s a foster family he stayed with.”  I suggested, more questioningly than stating flat out.  I was confused, and it scared me not to know what was going on.

“I don’t know, but we’ll find out, Di.”  Garret said.  He looked over at Doc.  “Do you still have the records?”

“Yes.  It’s saved on my e-mail account.  I can pull it up when we get back to the house.”  He said calming a little in the realization that we weren’t in doubt of him, just trying to figure out what was going on.

We finished up the shopping, stopped by the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh produce, and headed back to the house.  When we got in, I went straight to put up the groceries with the help of Claire.  Garret went into Stefan’s office to discuss what was going on, and Doc joined him after retrieving his laptop.

I explained everything to Claire, and she agreed with me that it was far-fetched that everything was planned out.

“I mean your right in the fact that he couldn’t have known you’d come here, so why would he lie.”  Claire stated as we headed to see what was going on in the office.

“These files are not forged, so Jamie didn’t do anything to them.”  Garret said as he turned the laptop for us to look at.  “What I’m going to work on is foster families he stayed with, friends he had, kids he knew at the orphanage he might have stayed in contact with, anything like that, and see if we can catch a lead.  If you see him, just don’t act any different.  Of course you’ll never be alone, but just give me time to check this out.”

What was this supposed to mean?  Why would it matter anyway?  We knew who was after me, so what did any of this have to do with me or the attacks?  I was just so confused.

I ended up cooking dinner for everyone, and we sat around afterwards and talked about trivial things; Garret and Stefan joking around like they normally did.  A while later, Doc wasn’t feeling to well, so he went to his room to rest, and the rest of us played some poker.  Though I really didn’t understand the game, I had fun.  We played for about two hours before heading to our own rooms.

I gave Garret about half an hour to shower and settle before I headed to his room.  I was so nervous, my palms were getting sweaty, but I knocked anyway.  Standing there for a moment, I didn’t think he would answer.  Maybe he’d already fallen asleep.  As I turned to go back to my room, his door opened.

 

 

Chapter 11

 

 

I looked back to see Garret leaning against his door frame in a t-shirt and lounge pants; his arms crossed and eyebrows raised, waiting to see what I had needed.

“Can I talk to you?”  I asked softly.

He nodded and backed up for me to pass.  His room was much like mine with a sitting room in front before you reached the bedroom door.  Then, to the left, was the door to the en suite bathroom.  I heard some soft music playing through the open bedroom door; it was kind of soothing to my nerves.  We sat on the sofa and he looked at me to start.

BOOK: No More Running
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